One of the very first things you can do to get involved in advocacy efforts is to connect to early childhood organizations such as NAEYC. NAEYC is focused on federal initiatives to ensure high-quality early learning experiences for every child. They have developed many resources that you can use in your own efforts to impact change on the federal, state, and local level. Visit NAEYC to explore these resources.
In addition to the national organization, NAEYC also has state affiliates that you can join. These groups are specifically focused on state and local advocacy initiatives. Most groups meet on a regular basis and publish newsletters to keep members in the field abreast of their efforts. You can connect with your NAEYC affiliate organization here.
There are also many other state and local child care associations that work on behalf of children that you can join. Speak to your director or licensing representative to find out how to connect with these organizations.
While it is a good idea to become involved in organizations that are already engaged in advocacy, it is not necessary. You can engage in your own grassroots advocacy. Connecting with a group is beneficial because they have likely completed much of the initial legwork necessary to be effective.
Once you have identified a topic that you are passionate about, you will need to do some research on the current state of affairs surrounding that issue.
- What are the research-based best-practices related to this issue?
- What resources are available?
- What decisions have been made about this topic in the past?
- Who are the decision makers that impact the topic?
- What are other organizations doing to support or oppose this issue?
Based on your research, you can determine what the ultimate goal of your advocacy efforts will be. Once a goal set, it is time to take action. Here are just a few of the advocacy actions you can take:
- Build partnerships – Connect with other people or organizations that have the same passion and vision
- Education – present information to families and the community on the importance of the issue in the form of presentations, written materials, social media posts, etc.
- Fundraising – organize events to raise awareness and donations to support your cause
- Media outreach – reach a wider audience by submitting a letter to the editor or op-ed, send press releases about events and achievements, utilize social media, etc.
- Legislative initiatives – invite policymakers to visit your program, contact policymakers about important votes that impact children and families, visit government offices to speak to policymakers, engage in Get Out the Vote efforts.
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For the main article Advocacy in Early Childhood Education, CLICK HERE
For the article Advocacy Opportunities in ECE, CLICK HERE
For the article Involving Families and Children, CLICK HERE
For the article Incorporating Advocacy into Professional Development, CLICK HERE